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AZ Kids' Acting Company Prospers Under Wing of Phoenix Theatre

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December 29, 2009

PHOENIX - The 26-year-old, Scottsdale-based youth theater company Greasepaint has recently come under the management of Phoenix Theatre, one of Arizona's premier arts organizations. One goal of the collaboration is to provide children with a more complete acting experience.

Greasepaint board vice-president Dan Schay, who is also Phoenix Theatre managing director, says the arrangement has expanded the scope of Greasepaint's performance educational possibilities.

"The Greasepaint philosophy now is to make sure that it's a complete educational experience for kids. They learn the context of the shows they're working on. They learn a little bit about the art of theater beyond just 'stand here, say the line.'"

Schay says auditions are open to children as young as eight or nine. He notes that several Greasepaint alumni have gone on to professional theater careers, although, he says, the skills acquired though acting can apply to any vocation.

"For the kid who's just going to build their confidence by being out on stage, begin to develop the poise and self-awareness to be able to handle themselves in front of a crowd, that's part of what the Greasepaint experience provides as well, and that's useful in any field of endeavor."

Schay says it's a challenge and a responsibility to choose appropriate shows for the theater's young performers.

"There are kids who are interested in the more challenging, teen-oriented material, like a 'Rent' school edition that we did last year to great acclaim and national awards; or a show this year that's a lot of fun called 'The Sound of Plaid' which is based on a musical called 'Forever Plaid.'"

Despite the deep recession, Schay says, funding for Greasepaint has held up well through a combination of government and community foundation grants, along with support from the parents of the kids involved.

Information about auditions and upcoming Greasepaint shows are available online at

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ